Hornsey, Ian Spencer; Royal Society of Chemistry (publ));
A History of Beer and Brewing
Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003, 742 pages
ISBN 0854046305, 9780854046300
topics: | food | drink | beer | history
This is the a scholarly (though Britain-centric) account of the history of alcoholic drinks made from partially germinated (or masticated) grain, a.k.a. beer.A seal from Tepe Gawra, northern Iraq, showing the earliest evidence for beer in Mesopotamia (ca. 4000 BCE). Two persons are shown drinking beer from a jar through bent straws. p.77. On the right, Sumerian cuneiforms. (a,b,c) are variants for KAS (beer): kas, kas with spout, and kas with beer. (d) is SIM, an unidentified (possibly flavouring) ingredient added to beer.Traces the origins of beer in ancient Egypt (documented since 5000 BCE) and the even older tradition in ancient Iraq (documented since 4000 BCE). Documents the brewing processes, the materials, and the drinking culture from Egypt, Iraq/Iran, Turkey (Phyrgia, Lydia, Thrace, Urartu, Galatia), Armenia, Syria, Palestine (Phoenicia), N. Europe (Urnfield, Celts), nomadic groups in the Caucasus (Scythians, Cimmerians), as well as the sake culture of Japan, before moving to Europe in the middle ages and beer in Britain. The culture may have come to western Europe with the Celts (pron. kelts), whose empire, in the 3d c. BCE, extended from England to Spain to Turkey. They may have been exposed to it in Turkey (Galatia) and carried the idea westwards. ... it is highly probable that the Celts brought beer, and the knowledge of brewing to the British Isles. Galatia was a territory [centered at Ankara, Turkey]. The Celtic tribes arrived there in the years immediately following 278 BC, the year that they crossed the Hellespont [and] wreaked havoc on their way through western Anatolia. Subsequently, brewing spread in the British Isles and other parts of Europe. Alehouses and taverns proliferated in the 17th century, and a number of texts came up, along with legislation dealing with adulteration of beer. Large changes in how we produce and consume beer came after the industrial revolution.
Commercial sake is pasteurised and it is interesting to note that a pasteurisation technique was first mentioned in 1568 in the Tamonin-nikki, the diary of a Buddhist monk, indicating that it was practised in Japan some 300 years before Pasteur. In China, the first country in East Asia to develop anything resembling pasteurisation, the earliest record of the process as said to date from 1117. p.30
Beer was a popular drink in ancient Egypt. The Egyptian hieroglyph for "brewer", fty, is an image of a person bent over a vat-like object, possibly mashing moist grains through a sieve. Subsequent images of consumption also abound. image of a servant girl pouring what is surmised to be beer. (from http://nosco.blogspot.com/2007/04/just-beer.html).
During the early years of the 20th c. it came to be realized that Egypt was not the oldest beer-producing culture, but that it may have been Sumer, adjacent to the area which is understood to have first undergone cereal domestication. Evidence of brewing goes back to recorded history with very comprehensive records. Temple records from excavations in Lagash in 1877 indicate monthly issues of barley and ememer for brewing. Mari: circular city on the Euphrates (founded in early 3d m. BC), controlled the river traffic between Iraq and Syria. The palace with 260 rooms, covering 2.5ha is the best preserved from the Bronze age, and has yielded more than 20K cuneiform tablets, some detailing materials for brewing. Actual drinking of beer is shown in a sealing from Tepe Gawra in N Iraq, ca. 4000 BCE. It appears to have been a popular drink, consumed by all social classes incl. women. Brewers were employed by the state temple [compare monasteries of Europe], and were highly regarded members of the community, some of them were known to have owned slaves. Remuneration for a brewer was usu. in the form of land, livestock, or barley, and many other workers were also paid w beer, or materials for making it. During Ur III dynasty, a monthly ration of barley was issued to labourers, who would brew their own (Neumann 1994). The mesopotaminas were also wine-makers and drinkers, having greater rates of conumption thatn the notedly bibulous Persians. " p.78
The area around the Tigris-Euphrates with the ancient kingdoms of Sumer, are home to Akkad, Babylonia and Assyria. [Mesopotamia, Greek for "between two rivers", first appears in Histories of Polybius (~mid 2 c. BCE). Sumer is an early ethno-linguistic group from 3400 BCE - among the principal city states were Ur, Eridu, Lagash and Uruk, each ruled by a separate king. The spoken language is unrelated to any other linguistic group; was recorded in cuneiform script, archaic versions of which already appear by 4th mill. BCE (Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods). Around 2300 BCE Sumer was incorporated into the Akkadian empire. Babylonia is the name given to S. Mesopotamia from around 1790 BCE to the 0 BCE. Its capital Babylon is abt 80km S of Baghdad. The Babylonian language and written tradition is dominated by Sumerian and Akkadian, although they belong to completely diff language groups and are therefore easy to distinguish and recognise, though written with the same system of writing. In the late 7th c. the expansion of ancient Iraq into Syria-Palestine clashed with Egyptian interests there.
An early dynastic (3100-2686 BC) brewery discovered at Lagash shows a tablet labelled e-bappir, and has a number of vats. Yaya's brewery: A later brewery owned by "Yaya" at Tell Hadidi from 15th c. BC (Gate 1988), has seven rooms around a courtyard. Finds include carbonised grain, grinding stones, several large storage vessels, (unmoveable, upto 500 liters) and small storage vessels (25-175 l). Also a strainer and several vessels with basal perforations, which may have been mash-tuns (Akkadian namitzu). _mash-tun_ (pronounced "mash ton") is a vessel used in the mashing process to convert the starches in crushed grains into sugars, e.g. in a Scotch distillery.] Brewing methods both in Egypt and Iraq were linked to bread.
There was an extensive beer culture in present day Iraq and Iran dating back to earlier than 4th millenium BCE. Beer was usually made by fermenting bread, and what is claimed to be a recipe was found in an ancient tablet. The goddess of brewing was Ninkasi, and a clay tablet dating from ~1900BCE bears the ancient Sumerian cuneiform text known as Hymn to 'Ninkasi: tablets bearing the hymn to Ninkasi (from beeradvocate.com) The original transliteration and a scholarly translation is available at the University of Oxford's Sumerian studies corpus), but here is my simplified translation omitting the refrains: Ninkasi: you are the one handling dough with a big shovel, mixing in a pit, the bappir with honey, Ninkasi: you are the one baking bappir in the big oven, you are the one ordering the piles of hulled grain, Ninkasi: you are the one watering the malt set on the ground, scaring off interlopers  with your noble dogs Ninkasi, you are the one soaking the malt in a jar, the waves rise, the waves fall. the waves rise, they fall. Ninkasi, you are the one spreading the cooked mash on large reed mats... a coolness comes over them. Ninkasi, with both hands you hold the great sweet wort, brewing it with honey and wine Ninkasi, the fermenting vat, with its pleasant bubbling sound you place on the collector vat. [Lahtan] Ninkasi, you pour the filtered beer from the collector vat, like the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.
A study of grain production in Mesopotamia has suggested (Hrozny 1913), that beer was the main product made from grain. Forbes (1955) estimates that some 40% of the harvest was used for making beer. The vocabulary is rich in suggestions of the same. A tablet (numbered XXIII in the lexical series) was originally transliterated by Hartman and Oppenheimer (1950), who suggest that: Through more than three millennia, an extensive and complicated nomenclature (in Sumerian and Akkadian) was evolved by the brewers... Technical processes that are apparently quite simple (in the eyes of a philologist) - e.g. the mixing of crushed materials into a liquid, are subject to exceedingly exact terminological differentiations according to the nature or size of the material, methods of mixing, numerical reactions, timing, special circumstances, etc. This holds true also for the designations given to the manifold methods applied to the techniques in which the malted grain was treated, to the ways in which the fermentation process was introduced and regulated, and so forth. ... Certain manipulations often gave their name to the beers that were their product. Thus we have a number of beers which take their names from such specific activities of the brewer as: pasu, haslat, LABku, hiku, mihhu, billitu, etc. Further complications are caused by regional and diachronic differences in this nomenclature which the peculiar nature of the cuneiform source material accentuates to a large extent.
bappir (akkadian bappiru): thick loaves of beer-bread, which would be mashed and fermented to make beer. But there is some controversy on this; it may have meant any malted grain (p.84) Cuneiform logogram for bappir linked the logogram for kas (beer jar) with ninda (bread) dida (akkadian billatu): a sweet wort, possibly prepared from the mash by squeezing gakkul: vessel used in fermenting that was mostly kept closed. Appears to have acquired a sense of mystery in the literary tradition. Also designates a part of the human eye, possibly the eyeball. As mentioned in the Hymn, may refer to a jar with a ball stopper that could be lifted; this would be ideal in a fermentation vat to let the CO2 escape. gestin: grape, raisin or wine. sumerian wine. kas (pron. kash, Akkadian shikaru): beer, written KAS'. In early babylonian was a drink made from barley, Neo-Babylonian was enriched with emmer or dates. Appears from the very earliest proto-cuneiform writings (from 4th c. BC). lu.kas.ninda: literally "man of the beer-loaf". munu : malt prepared by soaking the barley and then drying it in the sun and in the kiln. namzuu: vessel used for brewing beer sim : most likely an unidentified additive added before baking bappir. May also refer to oven used in heating wort. ku.sim: granary administrator sun: the liquid formed by mixing bappir loaves and other malt into water. Some sort of wort [a malt, ready for fermentation] titab: the cooked mash resulting from heating and mixing the sun. zizan : a grain (modern "emmer") - a two-grained wheat occasionally added to bappir in the malt
[Moving on to modern times, I found the scientific history of yeast particularly interesting. The idea of yeast as a living organism took some time to come about - it does look like a rather inert mass. The fight was between those who saw the yeast as alive (plant? animal?), and others who claimed they were a mere chemical.] While it was known that air was needed in fermentation, its specific role was unknown. Charles Cagniard-Latour (1777-1859), a French mechanical engineer in 1835 observed yeast sporulation under the microscope: a small cell formed on the surface of a yeast globule; the two cells remained attached to each other for some time before becoming two separate globules. but he thought it was some kind of a plant because of its lack of motility (p.409). In an 1837 book, the German zoologist Theodore Schwann first characterized yeast as a living fungus, and named it Zuckerpilz or sugar fungus (Schwann also discovered the Schwann cells which constitute the myelin sheath of axons in nerve cells). The genus of fungus including yeast is today called saccharomyces, a term which originated from Zuckerpilz. Schwann understood the yeast's role as that of taking the nutrition it needs from the solution, leaving the remaining elements to form alcohol. The German botanist Friedrich Kuetzing also proposed yeast as a vegetable organism, stating that: It is obvious that chemists must now strike yeast off the roll of chemical compounds since it is not a compound but an organized body, an organism. Thus there was a turf war between botanists and chemists. Leading chemists of the day, including the Swedish count Jons Jacob Berzelius, described as "the arbiter and dictator of the chemical world", vehemently opposed the position, stating that he regarded yeast as "being no more a living organism than was a precipitate of alumina". Others chemists opposing this view included the "biochemist" Justus Liebig (1803-1873) who was an editor of the Annalen der Pharmacie when the whose journal published a scandalous article by F Woehler (1800-1882), claiming the yeast to be eggs which develop into microscopic animals when placed in the sugar solution. Details of the anatomy of these animals were reported based on "observation", including their intestinal tract, were also presented. It was not until Pasteur (who had to argue off Liebig) that yeast was known as a fungus.
How Might Fermented Beverages Have Originated? 1 Some General Definitions and Musings 9 References 30
Introduction 32 The Grains 37 Grain Cultivation and Processing 41 Beer as Compensation for Labour 43 Beer Export and Import 44 Bouza 46 Brewing Technology 48 Brewery Sites 51 Information from the Artistic Record 53 The "Folkloristic" Approach to Interpretation of Ancient Egyptian Brewing 56 Beer Flavouring 61 Fermentation 63 The Role of Women 64 The Contributions of Dr Samuel 64 References 72
Introduction 75 The Role of Beer in Society 77 The Terminology and the Techniques 78 The Evidence for Breweries and Brewing Equipment 79 Types of Beer 81 Methodology 83 Drinking Through Straws, etc. 86 The Goddess Ninkasi 87 Notes from the Hymn to Ninkasi 89 Chemical Evidence for Beer 91 A Question of Primacy 92 The Grains 96 Flavouring 103 Banqueting, Over-indulgence and Retribution 104 References 113
Introduction 117 Israel and Palastine 119 The Land of the Hatti 125 Phrygia 128 Lydia 130 Cicilia 131 Armenia 132 Syria 133 Thrace 134 The Phoenicians 136 Galatia and the Celts 139 Urartu 140 Mitanni 142 The Scythians 143 The Cimmerians 148 The Urnfield Society 150 The Celts 151 Evidence for Celtic Brewing 161 References 163
Introduction 165 Cereals as Markers for Brewing Activity 169 Neolithic Britain and Northwest Europe: the Beginnings of Agriculture 172 The Passage of Farming Across Europe 181 Farming vs Gathering 185 A Short Interlude in Southeast Europe 190 Why Did Agriculture Spread Across Europe? 191 Did Neolithic Britons Brew? 193 The Bronze Age and the Culture of the Beaker 199 Evidence of Bronze Age Brewing 210 The Iron Age 211 Roman Britain 225 Anglo-Saxon Britain 233 Did Beor Equate to Beer? 251 Ireland Before Guinness 259 The Early Days of Brewing in Holland 268 References 276
William the Conqueror 282 The First Regulations 284 Henry III and the Assize of Bread and Ale 292 The Formation of the Guilds 296 Domestic Ale Consumption Around the 15'h Century 302 Hops 303 The Beer Trade with Holland 314 More about Hops and Beer 317 Measures to Combat Dishonesty 321 Beer vs Ale 323 Henry VIII and the Alewife 326 Brewsters 330 A Tudor Miscellany 333 Elizabeth I 346 Brewing in Tudor Times - Some Details 351 References 361
The Stuarts 365 The Use of Coal 372 Charles I and Oliver Cromwell 375 Commercial (Common) Brewers 383 Mumm 387 Gin (Madame Geneva) 391 The End of "Medievalism" 392 Gervase Markham 395 The Onset of Brewing Science; Lavoisier et al. 401 Adulteration of Beer 416 Some Early Brewing Texts 421 James Baverstock and the First Brewing Instruments 424 Steam Power 437 Big is Beautiful 440 The Need for Attemperation 451 James Prescott Joule 451 Refrigeration 462 Some Technological Improvements 469 Taxes on Everything 472 The Golden Years of Brewing Science 477 References 482
Porter 485 Bavarian Beer 508 Potato Beer 514 Heather Ale 515 Pale Ale 523 Devonshire White Ale 530 Gruit: The Major Beer Flavouring, Prior to the Hop, in Many Parts of Europe 534 City of London Brewery 538 Truman's Brewery 540 Golden Lane Brewery 551 Courage 554 References 565
The Lull Before the Storm 568 The Storm: 1914-1918 579 The Sign of Things to Come 589 Bottled Beer 593 The Story of British Lager 604 The Origins of the "Amber Nectar" 620 Brewing Becomes Really Scientific 627 Brewery-conditioned Beer 670 CAMRA - A Response to Brewery-conditioned Beer 678 The "Big Six" 684 Beer and Health 699 References 709 Appendix 1 : Timescale for Europe, Western Asia and Egypt 716 Appendix 2 : Ancient names for parts of Europe and the Near East 718 Appendix 3 : Sketch of working brewery of the ISh century 719 Appendix 4 : John Taylor: "The Water Poet" 720 Appendix 5 : Section through brewery showing layout 722 Appendix 6 : Summary of brewing processes 723 Appendix 7 : Explanation of chronological signs 724
For an easier and more colourful read, look up Brian Glover's World Encyclopedia of Beer, (see Beer: An Illustrated History for a summary. Also, The Barbarian's Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe is worth a look for Europe centered analysis.